Beijing, China, June 6, 2011 – Maria Clara Salgado Rufino and Carolina Solberg Salgado of Brazil defeated compatriots Angela Vieira/Liliane Maestrini in straight sets here on Monday to claim a berth in the women’s qualification tournament of the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour Beijing Grand Slam.
Marcia Clara/Carol brushed aside Vieira/Lili 21-17 and 21-16 in 42 minutes in Monday’s only women’s country-quota playoff.
“I’m really, really happy, the Brazilian country-quota matches are always very, very hard. So we start with a lot of pressure, and it’s good to win,” said Carol.
“Vieira/Lili are a great team. We were playing good, Carol played good, but we need to play better tomorrow and better in the Main Draw,” Marcia Clara added.
More than 110 tandems from 37 countries and regions are expected to take part in the $600,000 double-gender event, with the Chinese capital welcoming back international beach volleyball for the first time since the 2008 Olympic Games.
The women’s tournament features Beijing Olympic champions Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor of the United States and Beijing Olympic bronze medallists Xue Chen and Zhang Xi from China.
Kerri Walsh will be reunited with Misty May-Treanor for the first time since the Sanya Open where May-Treanor received a knee injury that forced her out of the following events in Shanghai and Myslowice, Poland. Two weeks ago in Myslowice, Walsh teamed up with Brittany Hochevar to claim seventh place.
Marleen Van Iersel and Sanne Keizer from the Netherlands, who picked up successive gold medals in Shanghai and Myslowice, are also worth watching, while other medal contenders include Larissa/Juliana from Brazil and Jennifer Kessy/April Ross of the United States.
The inaugural Beijing Grand Slam is the third of 12 double-gender events on the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour, which also includes three single-gender events for women, two single-gender events for men and a special 24-team Olympic test event in London August 9-14.